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Clerics and Gods


Pathfinder Society® General Discussion

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Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Alitan wrote:
Why would you want to WORSHIP a deity so far off from your own ideology, not 'why would you want to make offerings...' Not the same thing.

Indeed, my understanding of Golarion is that you have to be at least somewhat devoted to a deity to be a "worshipper", while you could easily acknowledge/make offerings to/toss up little prayers to any number of deities without being a "worshipper".

Qadira ***

so, again, in PFSOP, why can't a PC be a worshipper of more than one god?

And, why does a PC have to be within one step of the alignment to "worship" a diety?

(realizing that the above answers are "'cause thems the rules", and I'm ok with that, this is not a complaint post)

Given the above - How can a player run a PC as Loyal to Cheliax and not be L/N?


Obviously, other peoples' RAW versus RAI, to use game terms, of what {b]only one god[/b] means is different than mine. To me, it means only one god exists, period, not only one is worshiped or believed in. And until Paizo puts into print exactly what definition they use for Golarion for worship or revere or respect or believe, then these arguments about what you can and cannot do in relation to the deities will continue.


nosig wrote:


And, why does a PC have to be within one step of the alignment to "worship" a diety?

For this specifically, Joshua Frost posted more than once while he was in charge that he was going to change this so that the Guide only said this about characters that got their powers from a deity. Why Hyrum, then Mark or Mike decided to not make that change, I do not know.

Qadira *** Venture-Captain, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Thorkull

nosig wrote:
actually an atheist in Golarion is someone who recognizes the existance of Gods, but choises not to worship them. Rahadoum is an entire country of them in fact. The Pure Legion keeps the God Pushers out of their country. The Pathfinders tales book Death's Heretic is a real eye opener on how this works, but it's been covered in several posts here as well.

I think we need a new word to describe this behavior. Maybe "anti-theist"? Someone who believes in one or more gods but refuses to worship them is not the same as someone who refuses to believe in the existence of gods.

Frankly, in the context of Golarion, I'd have to say that any atheists are (maybe willfully) delusional, as there is clear evidence of the existence of gods in the world.

Qadira **

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
nosig wrote:
Don Walker wrote:
Also, ANY worshiper of a deity, must be within one alignment step of that deity - whether they draw any powers from that deity or not.
I do not believe this to be true. What is the definition of worshiper?

It's true for PFS. This isn't a requirement in the core rules.

It hasn't changed in 4.1 version of the guide:"Characters may elect to worship an evil god,
but must always be within one alignment step of their
chosen deity."

And to answer someone else's question, yes, absolutely I've seen Gms who will spend game time actually telling you why your character can't worship the god he/she does because you're more than one step away in alignment, so just make it easy on yourself and make your character one step away or less...it's silly if you're a class like sorceror or summoner, but it's the rule.

Qadira ***

teribithia9 wrote:
nosig wrote:
Don Walker wrote:
Also, ANY worshiper of a deity, must be within one alignment step of that deity - whether they draw any powers from that deity or not.
I do not believe this to be true. What is the definition of worshiper?

It's true for PFS. This isn't a requirement in the core rules.

It hasn't changed in 4.1 version of the guide:"Characters may elect to worship an evil god,
but must always be within one alignment step of their
chosen deity."

And to answer someone else's question, yes, absolutely I've seen Gms who will spend game time actually telling you why your character can't worship the god he/she does because you're more than one step away in alignment, so just make it easy on yourself and make your character one step away or less...it's silly if you're a class like sorceror or summoner, but it's the rule.

Yep, Don corrected me shortly after I made the above quoted post.

Worshippers must always be within one alignment step of their chosen deity - otherwise they are not worshippers.

***

Nosig with regards to Cheliax your making the common misconception that Cheliax the country (mandatory worship of Asmodeus) interestingly enough while the worship is mandatory it doesnt require you to be within one step in this case as its more paying lip service to a god in their territory rather than actual worship, basically if you dont do it you get punished so you do it to avoid being punished this doesnt make you a true believer.

This is not the same as Cheliax the pathfinder faction (in which you can worship any god you want as long as you push the faction goals, you can be a paladin in the Cheliax faction with no issues).

Shadow Lodge *

One can be a paladin in Cheliax (the nation) as well. Also note that there are other religions and deities actively worshiped in Cheliax, the nation. Clerics and open, legal temples.

Qadira ***

ok, on the one hand you have to "worship" Asmodeus in Cheliax - classed as "...paying lip service to a god in their territory rather than actual worship...". Yet, I can not say my PC is a "worshipper" of Asmodeus for the trait "Asmodean Demon Hunter" unless I am L/N. Even though the trait says "...(whether or not you are currently a follower)..." of Asmodeus. It appears we are making an exception for this form of "worship", for this type of "worshiper".

We seem to be getting mixed signals here. Perhaps I am just confused. The first impact dieties will have on a PC is during character creation (if you select a Religion Trait). In order to take a Religion Trait, you have to be a worshipper of the diety it is tied to. In order to be a worshipper you have to have an alignment with in one step of the diety. And "lip service" doesn't seem to count. I can not make my PC C/N and take a trait for Sarenrae (Flame of the Dawnflower), as in order to be a worshipper of Sarenrae I have to be within one step of N/G.

Qadira ***

Beckett wrote:
One can be a paladin in Cheliax (the nation) as well. Also note that there are other religions and deities actively worshiped in Cheliax, the nation. Clerics and open, legal temples.

Beckett, this is actually my point. We have a polytheistic view in the Cheliax write up. One in which it is not only possible, but required to worship more than one god. You may worship any other Non-evil god you wish, as long as you show the proper "worship" of Asmodeus.

And yet, now we (the players) are being instructed that your PC can only be a worshipper of one diety, and only if it is within one step of your PCs alignment (or the PC is within one of the diety). This is a form of Monotheism - the PC may only be the worshipper of one diety.

so... I'm just a little confused when the canon is not agreeing with itself.

Shadow Lodge *

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Ah, I thought you where disagreeing with me. Granted, Canon, not to mention Golarion is flled with this, and in every case the deities and alignment are the specific culprit.

Off topic, I do wish the monotheism would drop, (and atheism). Both imply something very different than what people may intend. The only almost monotheism in Golarion I can think of is the Cult of Raz, who specifically teach that the gods ar lies and false. Having a single patron deity is not monotheism, and not having a patron deity(s) is not atheism.

Qadira ***

I figure it's just the terms used in the game. PF atheism KNOWS the gods exist... they just don't want to have to deal with them. Kind of like knowing about Radioactivity...

so maybe we should invent new terms?

No-diety PC.
One-diety PC.
Multi-diety PC.

the only trouble would be that a PC can only have one diety in PFSOP... which I personally find kind of limiting for RP my characters. I can remember running a character in a Call of Cuthulla game, he was Irish Atheist (former catholic), who would cross himself in times of stress.
I can see a PC raised in Asmodaus church, now a Pharasma worshiper, only in times of stress he "shoots the Horns" (a sign against demons).

Shadow Lodge *

Oh, I fully agree. I wish they would drop the entire patron deity thing and leave it purely in the individual players hands. Slves a lot of setting problems, religious issues, and (re)opens a lot of lost flaor and story.


@ nosig & Beckett

I don't see that it's that limiting... yeah, you can only count as a worshipper of your patron deity, but that doesn't let out having a relationship with other deities; drop off an offering here and there, even attend services at a temple... that's all in the hands of individual players.

It's not like you get any mechanical benefit from having a patron deity anyway, unless you're a divine class, and that's subsumed in your class features anyhow.

So list your "primary" deity as your patron, and go on reverencing whatever other gods take your fancy. Where's the problem?


Enevhar Aldarion wrote:


And as far as I know, Paizo uses the standard definition of atheist for Golarion as well. If you are atheist on Golarion, you do not believe in the existence of any of the deities, no matter how obvious it is to others that they are real.

Or, in opposition both to this and some of the other versions of "Golarion Atheist" that have been proposed, here's a different version:

Perhaps, an Atheist in Golarion still believes in the existence of Golarion's "Gods" (since real evidence of their existence is all around him), but absolutely, completely and utterly denies that these strange, extremely powerful alien beings that others misname "Gods" are divine at all, and absolutely refuses to worship them-- because he believes that there are no genuine "Gods" (or God, or anything else like that) in the Universe.

I would think this also might explain the attitude of hard-core anti-divine worshiper types in Rahadoum-- "those things you mistakenly call 'Gods' are just powerful outsiders suckering you into giving them worship... yeah, they're powerful and they're giving you some nifty spells, but the claims they make are bogus, man... there's really no such thing as a 'God'".


nosig wrote:
Cpt_kirstov wrote:
Ok, my newest PFS character is/was going to be a devout worshiper of drastically opposed faiths - more devout that most clerics, in that he pays a 1% tithe split between the 3 churches (recorded on each chronicle sheet), and will stop in to pray at any of the churches for these three deities that he passes. But I was just going to put 'Poly-theist' in the religion field.
I think this is great... but I have been told that you can't do it. I'm hoping that I am wrong on this by the way, and the reason I am bringing it up is so I can continue listing one of my PC dieties as "Yeah, that one"... as he agrees to worship whoever anyone he is with worships.

Oh, I'm quite sure your character can make those claims and act them out in game. You just can't be a "worshiper" of those deities in any mechanical or game-benefits sense.


Alitan wrote:


There's no reason one can't respect a deity farther off than a single step, and the sort of 'casual' offerings to specific deities (to the god of travel before a long journey, to the god of merchants when planning big purchases, etc., etc.) represent this. My characters often spend respectable amounts in offerings to whatever god/dess of luck and/or fate are available, even if I don't worship them... just a kind of 'hey, look out for me anyway?' investment.

And there's the question of why would you want to worship a god whose tenets are so obviously not a match for your own?

Oh, I can think of a lot of in-character reasons someone could come up with to answer this question... admittedly most of them are with characters who are on the wrong end of the Law-Chaos spectrum, not characters who are on the wrong end of the 'Good-Evil' axis from the Deity they purport to worship. But... lemme throw a couple out there:

the Chaotic Good adventurer, who's really good at heart, believes in honor and justice, usually helps people and does the right thing, but is too much of an individualist (and maybe a bit more of a flake than he should be) to rise up to Neutral Good, let alone Lawful Good... but he still gives worship to Iomedae, deeply and sincerely, because even if he's not fully rising up to her Lawful standards, he still really believes in what she stands for.

The Lawful Good adventurer-leader, disciplined, superb warrior-- does the right thing, always. Dude's almost a Paladin, he's such a shining paragon of all that is good in the world. Leading a desperate rebellion against a powerful, utterly evil tyrant... the odds are against him and his people, and he fights anyway-- any wonder that he might just be a very committed, sincere follower of Milani, even if he is, strictly speaking, too far off of her CG alignment?

I'm sure I can come up with more if I thought about it for longer.

***

An easy way to decide who your patron deity is (and what you should put on your character sheet).

If every single god of Golarion came to visit you and all gave you a time sensitive quest (such that you could only complete one), which God would you do the task for and why?

If your choice is the god who picked whatever you wanted to do anyway, you have no favored diety, and generally are what pathfinder would consider an atheist and should put None on your character sheet.

If you choose any specific god, because you agree with their goals thats your patron diety and your alignment should be within 1 step of there anyway, (as your goals are linked your alignments should be close or identical).

After that you can still work for other gods but you have a primary, there is no way not to have a first choice, even if you revere the others you will still have one you agree with more.

Please note Rahadoum agree the gods exist and violenty deny their power and influence which is a big difference from Atheism in the modern world, we actually have no equivalent in our religons because of the lack of proof of the existance of gods. They know there are gods and they willfully deny the gods influence in their area.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

*shrugs* We have a CG wizard in our party who worships Nethys. Can't see much of a problem here, either... despite being one off on Law/Chaos, and one on Good/Evil.


Michael Foster 989 wrote:


If your choice is the god who picked whatever you wanted to do anyway, you have no favored diety, and generally are what pathfinder would consider an atheist and should put None on your character sheet.

IMO, no, I'd say since you agree that the Gods exist and are truly divine, you're the Golarion equivalent of a Deist (or maybe an Agnostic)-- you know they're out there, you just don't know which one you should follow, and you may not consider it all that important to follow a particular deity anyway.

Michael Foster 989 wrote:


If you choose any specific god, because you agree with their goals thats your patron diety and your alignment should be within 1 step of there anyway, (as your goals are linked your alignments should be close or identical).
After that you can still work for other gods but you have a primary, there is no way not to have a first choice, even if you revere the others you will still have one you agree with more.

Nice. Yeah, this method of yours works. I still don't see it precluding someone who really feels strongly towards a couple of the Gods/Goddesses and, in character, intends to show deep respect/worship towards a few deities, but not single out just one to place above the others (and who might be the one who really has a tough time deciding between a few of the Deity's missions on the basis of his/her agreement with their goals and beliefs, not just the mission offered). I've gotten the impression from discussions with other folks around here (including some of the Paizo creative types), that that isn't verboten for characters who are not Clerics, Paladins, or Inquisitors (I don't think I'm missing any other divine casters who fall into deity restriction issues-- I know Oracles don't have to worry about deciding who their patron is at all, from other discussions).

Michael Foster 989 wrote:


Please note Rahadoum agree the gods exist and violenty deny their power and influence which is a big difference from Atheism in the modern world, we actually have no equivalent in our religons because of the lack of proof of the existance of gods. They know there are gods and they willfully deny the gods influence in their area.

"violently deny their power and influence..."

Well, as I said in the post above-- yes, I'm quite sure that the people of Rahadoum believe in the existence of Golarion's Gods; but I'm not so sure that they don't deny the divinity of Golarion's Gods, and view them basically as ultra-powerful alien interlopers suckering humanity in other lands into worshiping them (something like the traditional view of 'Cthulhu' cults or followers of Yog-Sothoth, but with a nicer face...). One can "believe in the Gods" in Golarion (in the sense of knowing they exist, knowing about their powers, etc.), and still quite reasonably "not believe in the Gods" (as in believe that these beings are not truly 'Gods' in any meaningful sense).

I'm going to have to read up on Rahadoum, but I believe that's the only rational course of thought that can support Rahadoum's practices and beliefs (the "yes, they exist, but they aren't really divine and benevolent beings worthy of worship" approach).


Midnight_Angel wrote:

*shrugs* We have a CG wizard in our party who worships Nethys. Can't see much of a problem here, either... despite being one off on Law/Chaos, and one on Good/Evil.

And then there's this answer to why worship a God who's two (or more) steps off of your alignment. Yeah, a wizard-- worshiping the God of Magic (regardless of alignment)-- makes perfect sense to me.

Nice post, M.Angel :D

Lantern Lodge ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Enevhar Aldarion wrote:

nosig,

I just use dictionary.com since it will usually give several definitions.

And maybe you read the definition for monotheism differently than I do, but the Big Three, Christianity, Islam and Judaism, are monotheistic. There is only one god, all others are false and their followers must be converted or destroyed.

There was one god of that persuasion in Greyhawk. Pholtus, the Official and Only religion of the Theocracy of the Pale.

Generally the behavior of such clerics will depend on where they are. Obviously in the Theocracy, they actively seek out and put out of buisness any gatherings of so-called "false gods". Pholtans traveling abroad however tend to me more circumspect, mainly settling for giving followers of St. Cuthbert whatever abuse they can get away with.

Qadira **

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Midnight_Angel wrote:

*shrugs* We have a CG wizard in our party who worships Nethys. Can't see much of a problem here, either... despite being one off on Law/Chaos, and one on Good/Evil.

IMHO, there isn't a problem with that. Unfortunately, that character isn't actually PFS legal due to the one step rule in the campaign guide.

Qadira ***

teribithia9 wrote:
Midnight_Angel wrote:

*shrugs* We have a CG wizard in our party who worships Nethys. Can't see much of a problem here, either... despite being one off on Law/Chaos, and one on Good/Evil.

IMHO, there isn't a problem with that. Unfortunately, that character isn't actually PFS legal due to the one step rule in the campaign guide.

the problem comes up when you try to define "worship". As long as it's just "...paying lip service to a god in their territory rather than actual worship..." the PC is ok. It's not like he's a WORSHIPPER or anything, just playing along is all.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

This does not have to be so difficult. It smells of moldy cheese or rules-lawyering. The use of the word "worship" is a convenience. It is nothing more than a descriptive. Perhaps a better word could/should be used, but there is not defined game mechanic that explains what that word means. It's not like a "deflection" or "sacred" bonus classification.

If yo live in Cheliax, you have to show reverence towards Asmodeus because the law says so. That is coercion, not worship. The key, IMO, when a deity is involved is the individuals intent. In WWII if you did not demonstrate loyalty to the reich, you were arrested and possibly executed. Does that mean everyone was a devout follower (read:worshiper)? Obviously not.

If you are gaining a mechanical benefit (spells, SLA, buffs, etc) from the deity, granted because you are a worshiper, then it stands to reason you must actually devote yourself to the deity. Since nearly every deity is assumed to be both omniscient, they will know it you are truly devoted or just paying lip service. Why would a deity grant you divine benefits if you were not devoted their glory? Being truly devoted to a deity requires you to be within one step of their alignment. It doesn't have to be more complicated than that.

And yes, I understand that there are exceptions in the game like worshiping a concept, or druids, or oracles, etc., but we are talking about the general cases here. Let's not try to exploit loopholes in the rules. And let's not get hung up on interweb definitions and ambiguous text, the RAI should be pretty clear.

Qadira ***

One of my concerns with this is for religion traits. The very first one in the APG is "Asmodean Demon Hunter" which says in the text "...(whether or not you are currently a follower)..." of Asmodeus. Yet the discription of religion traits state that if you are no longer a worshipper, you loose this trait.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

nosig wrote:
One of my concerns with this is for religion traits. The very first one in the APG is "Asmodean Demon Hunter" which says in the text "...(whether or not you are currently a follower)..." of Asmodeus. Yet the discription of religion traits state that if you are no longer a worshipper, you loose this trait.

That just means either the trait is poorly written or the rule of specific trumps general is in play. For example, the THW rules say you must use two hands to wield, but the THW fighter archetype provides an exception. No clarification is really needed. We can apply that logic to this as well. Generally speaking, you lose religion traits if you are no longer a follower. However, Asmodean Demon Hunter is a specific trait that excepts that rule.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

nosig wrote:

One of my concerns with this is for religion traits. The very first one in the APG is "Asmodean Demon Hunter" which says in the text "...(whether or not you are currently a follower)..." of Asmodeus. Yet the discription of religion traits state that if you are no longer a worshipper, you loose this trait.

Obviously, this means that selecting this trait will cause a feedback loop, causing an isolated implosion of reality that will result in the spontaneous disintegration of your character sheet when you write it down. Just don't try it in HeroLab...

Qadira ***

Bob Jonquet wrote:
nosig wrote:
One of my concerns with this is for religion traits. The very first one in the APG is "Asmodean Demon Hunter" which says in the text "...(whether or not you are currently a follower)..." of Asmodeus. Yet the discription of religion traits state that if you are no longer a worshipper, you loose this trait.
That just means either the trait is poorly written or the rule of specific trumps general is in play. For example, the THW rules say you must use two hands to wield, but the THW fighter archetype provides an exception. No clarification is really needed. We can apply that logic to this as well. Generally speaking, you lose religion traits if you are no longer a follower. However, Asmodean Demon Hunter is a specific trait that excepts that rule.

and by "follower" you mean "worshipper" right? So it would be "OK" to give this trait to a Paladin?

***

It would be possible, in theory however you would have needed to be LN at the time you obtained the trait (to be a true and devout follower of Asmodeus) and then changed to LG and completely severed your ties with him. Thus in a home game expect the hellknights and other followers of Asmodeus to be hunting you, in PFS its legal and wouldnt get any repercussions.

Qadira ***

Michael Foster 989 wrote:
It would be possible, in theory however you would have needed to be LN at the time you obtained the trait (to be a true and devout follower of Asmodeus) and then changed to LG and completely severed your ties with him. Thus in a home game expect the hellknights and other followers of Asmodeus to be hunting you, in PFS its legal and wouldnt get any repercussions.

actually, in a home game ... all bets are off.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Bob Jonquet wrote:
This does not have to be so difficult. It smells of moldy cheese or rules-lawyering. The use of the word "worship" is a convenience. It is nothing more than a descriptive. Perhaps a better word could/should be used, but there is not defined game mechanic that explains what that word means. It's not like a "deflection" or "sacred" bonus classification.

With due respect-- the extremely narrow, mechanical definitions of 'worship' and yet attaching it to judgement on the character's devotion or lack thereof to a Deity smacks of moldy cheese or rules-lawyering at least as much. There almost has to be a better choice of wording out there somewhere than the one that was used-- because the 'definition' of "worshiper" used in PFS as explained and chewed over here is downright insulting to the idea of faith.

I believe it would be far better defined if the rules said something like, "the character cannot qualify for any faith-based power, trait, feat, etc.", unless he/she is within one step of his/her patron deity's alignment; rather than say "the character can only worship deities within one step of his/her alignment".

That would solve the mechanical issues and keep the loopholes and bogus exploitations closed off; without hindering character creation and role-playing from all the non-mechanical personality/flavor/fluff standpoints. The character does not have to be within 1 step to be sincere about his/her worship of a particular deity-- that's a bogus claim, unless alignment is everything about a character's beliefs and goals (I don't think the alignment system is meant to go quite that far), but it's reasonable to explain that you're not sufficiently pure in your faith as the explanation for not getting powers from it (if someone really needs that detailed explanation) without artificially denying a character's sincerity and devotion.

Heavily edited to cut out unnecessary rants and extra writing

Qadira ***

yeah - what Finn said.

Shadow Lodge *

I liked the original better. It had more fire, but it was also more clear and strong, I think.

:(


Beckett wrote:

I liked the original better. It had more fire, but it was also more clear and strong, I think.

:(

I appreciate the sentiment, Beckett. I just felt like I had to edit it down, because I was concerned that I was starting to get a little personal and insulting in the way I wrote the first version-- I tend to go a little overboard on the intensity and emotion (and not always in a good way) when I first launch into a discussion on something that's really starting to annoy me, and I'm trying to do a better job of controlling those hostile reactions. Hopefully it's still clear enough and covers the point well enough to get the point across.


Finn:

I can see your points, and frustration (even in the edited version). I do think that the alignment issue is an important one, however. Not because a character couldn't (rules aside) want to worship a deity (or deities) whose alignment was out-of-synch (an earlier point about wizards and Nethys springs to mind), but because worship is not a monologue. The god has a part to play in the relationship, and gods seem to be, like alignment-typed outsiders, incarnate in matters of alignment. That is, they don't waver, like mortals, being eternal and all. Which means that every time a 'worshipper' varies by following their own alignment, it's like grit in the eye for the god/dess/es in question.

Not that you couldn't offer worship, but that it might not be acceptable to your chosen deity.

That said, I generally agree with you, that it really shouldn't matter except in the case of a character receiving divine powers. But that cuts both ways; it shouldn't (I think) matter quite so much as it seems to, to you. You can RP the hell out of devotion to an 'inappropriate' deity without having to have the acceptance of PFS, can't you? If you're not losing divine powers from your alignment deviance (from the gods' point of view) why does this issue punch your buttons so hard?

I'm trying to understand; this is not meant to be a further argument, and I hope it doesn't read that way. I'm pretty much on your side, just curious about the intensity.


Alitan wrote:


That said, I generally agree with you, that it really shouldn't matter except in the case of a character receiving divine powers. But that cuts both ways; it shouldn't (I think) matter quite so much as it seems to, to you. You can RP the hell out of devotion to an 'inappropriate' deity without having to have the acceptance of PFS, can't you? If you're not losing divine powers from your alignment deviance (from the gods' point of view) why does this issue punch your buttons so hard?

I'm trying to understand; this is not meant to be a further argument, and I hope it doesn't read that way. I'm pretty much on your side, just curious about the intensity.

I'm going to address this issue in its own post: why the intensity? (which I'm well aware of as an issue)

I could write a book on this, but the short answer is, I've been diagnosed (accurately) with moderate to severe PTSD (military-service connected). I'm extremely sensitive to some issues, particularly human rights, tolerance, discrimination, freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, 'just war theory' and acceptable/unacceptable conduct in warfare, 'crimes against humanity', and 'war crimes' issues (I'd rather not 'write the book' here on why these seem to be my biggest triggers). These, and discussions related to them, can be major triggers for me.

I think that I'm finding such an objection to this point of "worshipers" and "worship" now, because, on the part of people who agree with the PFS official definition, there's been way too much throwing around of terms like "lip service" and the idea that someone cannot possibly be a sincere believer and dedicated to his/her ideals unless he/she is a perfect alignment clone of his/her deity (yes, that's an exaggeration-- but not by much). And that's starting to feel to me like it's becoming a discussion of heresy, intolerance, 'one true path' or you're just not a believer, kind of things. Maybe churches in Golarion are like that... maybe that's the majority view of faith there, that you can't be in the club unless you're just like us in your observances and dedications of faith.

I admit, I don't like simulating such absolutist views of religious belief and acceptable/non-acceptable forms of devotion even within a game (except maybe on the part of NPCs whose intolerance needs to be opposed-- same kind of reason why I really came down on people who were suggesting that all kinds of crimes against humanity were okay in the game world "because it's just a different time and mindset" on some other threads). So, while I believe my views on this are correct as far as how it might be better handled in game; the intensity of my reactions to this issue, and the lengths to which I want to push my arguments, may not be entirely reasonable, and I do apologize to anyone who feels attacked by that.

Just understand, that when things like "lip service" and "your character just can't be a genuine worshiper because you don't fit the alignment profile" started getting tossed around so casually, in a way that (if it were said of people in RL) is clearly denigrating the character's faith and beliefs, no matter how the character feels about it; and in RL would clearly be taken as discrimination and blatant intolerance IMO-- it's starting to hit on trigger issues for me, and I find it very difficult not to react (and over-react) quite strongly on this point.

I still agree with the point on game mechanics, of requiring a character to select and only have one patron deity, which he/she must be within 1 alignment step of, in order for that character to receive faith-based powers (including class-powers), traits, feats, special abilities and etc. But who a character believes in and worships in game is about much more than just mechanical issues-- as a matter of the character's actions in the game, his/her personality, the background and all that other stuff that gets labelled "fluff" or "flavor", this stuff does matter-- unless PFS is intended to be tactical simulation in which role-playing and actually developing your character's personality is unimportant.


Alitan wrote:

Finn:

I can see your points, and frustration (even in the edited version). I do think that the alignment issue is an important one, however. Not because a character couldn't (rules aside) want to worship a deity (or deities) whose alignment was out-of-synch (an earlier point about wizards and Nethys springs to mind), but because worship is not a monologue. The god has a part to play in the relationship, and gods seem to be, like alignment-typed outsiders, incarnate in matters of alignment. That is, they don't waver, like mortals, being eternal and all. Which means that every time a 'worshipper' varies by following their own alignment, it's like grit in the eye for the god/dess/es in question.

Not that you couldn't offer worship, but that it might not be acceptable to your chosen deity.

Now, for some rational game point discussions (rant from previous post not intended to be carried over):

While I agree that the alignment issue is important for settling mechanical questions and "are you sufficiently steadfast and true" that your God(-dess) grants you a boon for it (traits, feats and such); I don't see the 1-step of alignment as being the be-all and end-all of what most deities care about, in accepting or denying worship. For some deities, nearness of alignment may really matter and be a defining point-- but where that is the case, I'm more than a little convinced that being even 1 step away on a particular axis should not be acceptable to the Deity as far as granting boons goes, at the very least. Or, drawn directly from your point in this post: You're just 1 step away on the axis that is utterly critical to your Deity's faith-- your worship may not be acceptable to your chosen Deity.

Example: if you're following a deity who is specifically a god of laws, rules, order, contracts... not simply a deity who happens to be Lawful and can grant the Lawful domain, but whose portfolio is The Law-- if you're not Lawful in alignment, I think that would be a problem, as far as your acceptability to your Deity really goes. In Golarion, I don't know that Abadar is this much of a d***, but Asmodeus probably is (or rather, should be). Neither of these two would likely find a Chaotic character's worship acceptable, but if I was going to insert house-rules (and allow evil characters), I'd probably say Asmodeus isn't answering your prayers if you're NE. Irori also probably shouldn't be considering you a true follower if you're not Lawful (true neutral seems too far off of Irori's absolute faith in discipline).

Contrariwise, I specifically deny that, given the flavor texts in their own write-ups in the faith books, that all Deities are so concerned with the alignment issue that they would find worship necessarily unacceptable for any violation of the one-step rule-- though most Deities will find worship from characters of some alignments diametrically opposed to that deity's portfolio and core beliefs unacceptable (given your point about worship being a 'two-way' dialogue, not a monologue). However, even that has (IMO) an exception or two. Now, I don't push this for mechanical issues-- but for RP as a "sincere worshiper" I offer the following lists of examples of alignment out of step, but should still be acceptable to the Church.

Examples of Deities who care very little about your alignment: Nethys. By the write-up in Faiths of Balance, Nethys really doesn't care what your alignment is, all he cares about is whether you're working magic and following the few required codes of his faith while doing so. I don't think Pharasma particular cares what alignment her worshipers are, though that's more iffy. Going by the flavor text, Gorum doesn't care what alignment you are, so long as you're a warrior of some type. And I don't think Gozreh cares at all what alignment you are, so long as you revere and respect nature.

Examples of Neutral and Evil Deities who still care about alignment but probably would allow more than 1 step of alignment difference (not necessarily in multiple directions): Calistria probably wouldn't care if you were any Neutral (in addition to allowing any Chaotic as a standard option)-- just looks to me like she'd only mind if you were Lawful. Norgorber: Direct quote from Faiths of Corruption: "He is a master of secrets, a true gamesman, and he welcomes all into his church." Questions? Seriously, I think a character who tries following Norgorber, who is good, is going to have a real hard time hanging on to his alignment and being faithful at the same time-- but I think Norgorber would welcome that character into his Church with open arms and relish the opportunity to corrupt him into Norgorber's way of thinking. I believe it would be very hard to be good, and follow Zon-Kuthon-- but it looks to me like Zon-Kuthon wouldn't mind worshipers who were any of the neutral alignments.

Examples of Good Deities who might allow more flexibility to worshiper's alignments (I think it would be very difficult, if possible at all, for an evil character to be an acceptable worshiper to these deities, but other out-of-step stretches may be considered): Sarenrae-- You're probably not going to count as a truly deity-acceptable, empowered worshiper of Sarenrae unless/until you've become good in alignment-- but, the Church of Sarenrae isn't supposed to turn anyone away who is on the road to redemption. Means, LN & CN, acceptable as worshipers so long as they're trying to better themselves and improve. Even evil characters can genuinely worship Sarenrae, if they've already sincerely made the choice to turn away from evil, but are still learning how to do that and battling their current temptations. Contrariwise-- I would think that no-one gets Sarenrae's traits and feats, or can be a Cleric of Sarenrae, without actually being 'good' in alignment (IMO, if you're sufficiently devoted to Sarenrae's beliefs and goals and are putting them into practice in your daily life... a good alignment already describes you perfectly-- if it doesn't, better reevaluate whether or not you're really following Sarenrae's teachings).


Thank you for the explanation. I hadn't been feeling attacked (but then, I'm not pushing hard on the lip-service thing) I just was wondering at it. I appreciate your willingness to explain in the face of provocation (I'm on those other threads where people were suggesting 'it's OK in context' for vile behavior, too, and it's been making me irritable in the extreme).

I can see how those issues would be especially 'hot' following a (or multiples of) deployment... I've got a number of friends in the Army and the Air Force who have harrowing tales, as well as tales they haven't felt able to tell sheltered, civilian me.

And, by the way, thank you for your service (in case nobody's said so yet).

And thanks again for taking the time to explain.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

nosig wrote:
and by "follower" you mean "worshipper" right? So it would be "OK" to give this trait to a Paladin?

Only if the paladin selected the deity in exclusion to others which is something that they are not required to do. But if they choose to, more power to them.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

Finn Kveldulfr wrote:
I believe it would be far better defined if the rules said something like, "the character cannot qualify for any faith-based power, trait, feat, etc.", unless he/she is within one step of his/her patron deity's alignment; rather than say "the character can only worship deities within one step of his/her alignment".

I don't disagree with you, but changing the rules for how traits work is a core-game issue and not the purview of PFS. To change that would be contrary to what the core rules state. We are trying to avoid that whenever possible.

The requirement to be within one step of the deity is not opposite the core rules because it does not discuss the issue either way. PFS just imposes a more strict interpretation of the connection and the word "worship" is used to describe that condition. Could/should it be worded better or a different word used, probably.

The use of the word is probably not the right one for the Chelaxian situation either, since there is little chance that the people being coerced into it by the legal system who honestly describe themselves as worshipers in the sense of belief or faith.

Qadira ***

Bob Jonquet wrote:
nosig wrote:
and by "follower" you mean "worshipper" right? So it would be "OK" to give this trait to a Paladin?
Only if the paladin selected the deity in exclusion to others which is something that they are not required to do. But if they choose to, more power to them.

ah... I don't understand the answer. Guess it must just be late for me and I should head to bed.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

nosig wrote:
ah... I don't understand the answer. Guess it must just be late for me and I should head to bed.

Sorry, I was thinking about religion traits in general. The specific trait would not be available to a paladin, IMO, because they are not permitted to be "worshipers" of Asmodeus. Now, if we decide that the wording of the trait is an exception to the general rule that you have to be a current follower, then I suppose it would be legal. Perhaps the paladin was a follower of Asmodeus and had the trait, but saw the cruelty inherent in the religion and converted away to be a paladin.


Bob Jonquet wrote:


The requirement to be within one step of the deity is not opposite the core rules because it does not discuss the issue either way. PFS just imposes a more strict interpretation of the connection and the word "worship" is used to describe that condition. Could/should it be worded better or a different word used, probably.

I appreciate the reply.

However, if I'm understanding this correctly-- there is no requirement in the core rules for being within one step of your deity unless you're a Cleric, Inquisitor, or Paladin? That, otherwise, the 1-step rule for all characters is strictly an interpretation/requirement for PFS, and that the core rules do not require a character to be within one step to count as a "worshiper" for all purposes?

Why it would be all that difficult, in that case, to state that, for a character to qualify as a "worshiper" for game-mechanics purposes in PFS play, he/she must be within 1 step of a Deity's alignment, but leave the choice of which Deity a character chooses to follow open for all other purposes, unless the character is one of the classes (such as Cleric) that has other reasons for needing to be within 1 step?

(and leave the idea that characters who don't fit the perfect alignment profile can only offer lip-service to the Deity of their choice out of this... not sayin' you were doing this, but this is one of the things that bugs me about the mismatch between mechanics-term and game-requirement)

Qadira ** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

Jonathan Cary wrote:
nosig wrote:
actually an atheist in Golarion is someone who recognizes the existance of Gods, but choises not to worship them. Rahadoum is an entire country of them in fact. The Pure Legion keeps the God Pushers out of their country. The Pathfinders tales book Death's Heretic is a real eye opener on how this works, but it's been covered in several posts here as well.

I think we need a new word to describe this behavior. Maybe "anti-theist"? Someone who believes in one or more gods but refuses to worship them is not the same as someone who refuses to believe in the existence of gods.

Frankly, in the context of Golarion, I'd have to say that any atheists are (maybe willfully) delusional, as there is clear evidence of the existence of gods in the world.

Atheists in Golarion do not deny that gods exist, they just believe the gods are simply powerful outsiders unworthy of worship. They don't necessarily work against the gods so much as feel people are foolish for spending time and effort venerating other beings.

Shadow Lodge *

That is to say "what you mean by atheists in Golarion". There can also be actual atheists in golarion, who do not believe that the divine or supernatural exists, despite the abundance of evidence in front of their faces.

This is exactly why I wish the atheist/monotheist references would drop. You (general you) imply things you don't actually mean, and define it in false terms.

Qadira ***

Beckett wrote:

That is to say "what you mean by atheists in Golarion". There can also be actual atheists in golarion, who do not believe that the divine or supernatural exists, despite the abundance of evidence in front of their faces.

This is exactly why I wish the atheist/monotheist references would drop. You (general you) imply things you don't actually mean, and define it in false terms.

in any hobby and in any setting words may change thier meaning.

"Oracle" is a class in some games, a job discription in other settings, and a tool in my work.

"Level 3"... could mean,

The experience of a character
The "power" of a spell
The depth your PC is at in a dungeon

and that's all in one game.

If I say Balista - in PF (and most D&D related games) it means a giant crossbow. In history it means a stone throwing engine. In Battletech... never mind, you get the idea.

I understand the confusion, but part of playing the game is learning the language... or trying to change it.

In PFSOP the term Atheist is used to mean someone (PC or NPC) who does not worship a god or goddess - or perhaps just does not worship anything. That is the current definition from the "the powers that be".

Not ment to be rude or anything, but there are a lot of other words our hobby have adapted and altered... why the problem with this one?

Shadow Lodge *

This comes up often, though, and the definition that is sometimes attributed to the word is not what the word actually means, causing confussion. It is also something that is not specifically designed for the game mechanics, but rather an out of game term. In a lot of game worlds, an actual atheist, (one who does not believe in the existance of the divine, the supernatural, magic, myth, the soul, an afterlife, etc. . .) typically also do have specific things that happen to them upon death, (shich is also true in Golarion).

What do you mean "the powers that be"? English? The dictionary? Some other power that be on the topic?

And, in the books, your wrong. An atheist, specifically those that do not believe in the existance of deities and the soul are sent to a special "hell" in the graveyard forever, vs individuals that do not have a patron deity or follow any particular faith, that instead still go to their closest deities realm. So actually golarion agrees with "the powers that be". :)

(Not meant to be rude, either)


Beckett,

When people use the term "the powers that be", often abbreviated as TPTB, they are generally referring to the creators of whatever it is they are talking about. In this case, it would be the people who work for Paizo and make the official decisions on how their rules work.

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